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A Journal on Applied Physiology, Biomechanics, Preventive Medicine,
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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2014 August;54(4):545-51

language: English

Physical fitness and volume of leisure time physical activity relate with low stress and high mental resources in young men

Kettunen O. 1, Kyröläinen H. 2, 3, Santtila M. 4, Vasankari T. 5, 6

1 Department of Health and Exercise, University of Turku, Turku, Finland;
2 Department of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland;
3 National Defence University, Helsinki, Finland;
4 Defence Command, Personnel Division, Finnish Defence Forces, Helsinki, Finland;
5 The UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research, Tampere, Finland;
6 The National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland


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AIM: There is limited evidence available regarding the relationship between physical fitness, especially muscular fitness, and the mental well-being among young healthy men. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the impact of measured cardiovascular and muscle fitness and self reported leisure time physical activity (LTPA) on outcomes of stress and mental resources in Finnish young men.
METHODS: In a cross-sectional study, 831 men (mean age 25 y) underwent cardiovascular and muscle fitness test and completed LTPA and Occupational Stress Questionnaires (OSQ). For analysis, the subjects were divided to LTPA, CVF and MFI tertiles.
RESULTS: The group with low LTPA reported 6% and 13% more stress (ANCOVA using age, body mass index, smoking and alcohol use as covariates, P<0.05 in both) and 6% and 12% (P<0.05 in both) less mental resources than the moderate and high LTPA groups, respectively. The group having low cardiovascular fitness experienced 8% and 9% (P<0.001 in both) more stress and 7% and 7% (P<0.05 in both) less mental resources than moderate and high cardiovascular fitness groups. The low muscle fitness index (MFI) group reported 7% (P<0.01) less mental resources than those with moderate MFI and 8% (P<0.001) more stress and 8% (P<0.001) less mental resources than those with high MFI.
CONCLUSION: Both good aerobic and muscular fitness together with high LTPA are associated with low stress and high mental resources.

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oili.kettunen@vierumaki.fi